As I have reported earlier, the ships of the BlackSeafor fleet visited Istanbul between 20 and 23 April 2012. They were open to the public and I took the opportunity to visit them all.
It was an interesting experience for me as I was able to compare different ships build by very different construction standards and naval traditions in a very short period of time.
The first thing that struck me was how important it is to create a common communication capability among the ships of different nations when creating a multinational task force. The guides on the foreign ships were very friendly and they could even have been very talkative if I was able to speak their native language.
The first ship on the tour was the flagship of this activation the Rophuca (Project 775) class landing ship of Russian Navy Tsesar Kunikov.
The rivets on Tsesar Kunikov joining the aluminum superstructure and steel hull.
The tour was limited to the outside of the ship. The hull where the military cargo is loaded was made of steel, where the superstructure is made of aluminum to save weight I guess. This explains why there are so many rivets on side of the ship where the superstructure meets the hull. The parts of the ship made from different metals were joined by rivets in an old fashioned way rather than by welding.
An intensive network of water pipes and sprinklers was visible on the outer hull of the ship. I believe the main use of this system to was the ship against nuclear fall-out. But I think such system is very handy to fight a potential fire considering the fatal and devastating fires happened on aluminum hulled ships.
I was positivity surprised to learn that we were able to take photo on board of the Russian ship. This might be my prejudices dating back before the fall of the Iron Curtain.
My quick peeks through the portholes showed me a very spartan and basic interior rooms. I would like to have more information about the habitat and sea worthiness of the ship if my guide was more fluent in English.
The second ship was the Turkish frigate TCG Yavuz. On board I was able to get all the information I could get from our guide as there was no language barrier but interestingly this ship was the only one were the visitors that to submit their mobile phones ans cameras prior to the start of the tour.
One of the two RBU 6000 ASW mortar launchers on board C.A. Eustatiu Sebastian.
The next stop was the Romanian Improved Tetal class corvette C.A. Eustatiu Sebastian. Our guide told us that the primary mission of this ship was ASW. This explains the lack of any guided weapons on board. The main armament consists of 4 piece 533mm torpedo tubes. These were the largest torpedo tubes I have seen on board of a ship. If I did translate it correctly one of the tubes is used as garbage bin for plastic waste.
Although the Tetal class is a indigenous Romanian design, the Russian influence on the design of the ship thought the weapon and sensor systems is obvious. Besides TCG Yavuz, C.A. Eustatiu Sebastian was the only ship were we have been allowed inside of the ship. Our guide was working on this ship for that last 10 years as the helmsman.
One of the four 406mm torpedo tubes for Type 40 ASW torpedoes on board Reshitelni.
Next we have boarded the Bulgarian Pauk I class Reshitelni corvette. Like the Romanian ship the main role of this ship is ASW. There are ASW rockets, torpedo tubes and depth charges as main armament a 76mm gun for other operations and a close in weapon system for self defense. The usefulness of the variable depth sonar for ASW Operations in the Black Sea remains a mystery for me. An extensive piping for the external wash down system was a clear indicator for me that the Russians were really expecting the use of nuclear or chemical weapons at a conflict during the Cold War.
Mine sweeping gear on board Cherkasy
The last ship we have visited was the Ukrainian Natya I (project 266M) class mine sweeper Cherkasy. She is well armed for a mine sweeper compared to the ships with similar duties in most of the NATO navies. There are 4 turrets of 30mm guns and 2 turrets of 25mm guns. In comparison the newest Turkish mine hunters of Aydın class have one barreled 40mm gun turret.
All the mine sweeping is done by mechanical means in old school way. I have been told that there were no divers on board. The ship was crammed, so I guess it is not easy to work on the sweeping gear in rough seas.
The front 57mm/75 AK725 gun on Tsesar Kunikov
The port side UMS-73 missile launcher for Grad-M missiles on Tsesar Kunikov
Bass Tilt H/I band fire control radar on Tsesar Kunikov
Port side 533mm torpedo tubes for 53-65 torpedoes on C.A.E. Sebastian. The sign on the right one says "plastic garbage".
One of the two RBU 6000 ASW mortar launchers on board C.A. Eustatiu Sebastian
Starboard, Square Head IFF antenna on C.A. Eustatiu Sebastian
Peel Cone E band search radar on Reshitelni
Port side depth charges rack with 6 charges on Reshitelni
The port side RBU 1500 ASW mortar launcher on Reshitelni
The port 25mm, twin barreled gun on Cherkasy
30mm AK306 gun on Cherkasy
GKT-2 contact sweeper on Cherkasy